PATIENTS were evacuated from a hospital in the early hours of this morning after part of the ceiling caved in.

Firefighters were called at around 1.20am to the incident at The Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) on Farnborough Common.

The emergency services reported a burst central heating pipe is believed to have caused the collapse.

The hospital said 20 patients were evacuated from the area before crews arrived, while a further eight were moved as fire teams arrived on scene.

Four fire engines were scrambled from Bromley, Orpington and Biggin Hill. The service said it isolated the heating supply before declaring the area safe and leaving it with maintenance staff just after 2.30am.

PRUH issued a statement soon after in response to the incident. A spokeswoman said: "Our staff immediately evacuated all 20 patients from the ward to areas of safety within the hospital. Those patients were then seen by senior doctors, who found no injuries, and temporarily relocated to other wards.

"The PRUH takes health and safety very seriously. We have begun a detailed investigation into what happened and engineers are checking the affected pipes."

The hospital also said a maintenance work, a full clean up and a health and safety review are all set to take place, adding the ward is expected to reopen later this evening.